Tuesday Tutes & Loot (#TTL) - Party Planning Edition!

My lovely friend Calee (not Caylee) has created a genius weekly link-up blogger party called Tuesday Tutes & Loot. What is it? It's a day dedicated to sharing Tutorials (TUTES), cool new products, and/or giveaways (LOOT).  a) I love this idea, and b) I love Calee. Soooooo, I've been racking my brain on what I could write about today on this innaugural TTL.  In coming weeks, I'm planning on sharing how to roast garlic, how to press tofu (must research, b/c I have tofu in the fridge and no idea how to prepare it!!), and how to get your kids to eat more veggies :)

But for today...

How to Plan a Fabulous Birthday Party:

1) Set your budget. 

This wasn't initially #1, but after sincere contemplation, I moved it up to the top.  Your budget really does dictate the answer to a lot of the following questions. Do you have $100 to spend, or $1000? Knowing your budget helps you make good decisions about where you'll have the party, what kind of food you'll serve, how many people you'll invite, etc. You'll know where you can splurge and where you need to be creative/crafty. It sets the tone.  Now sticking to it is a whole other blog post entirely!

Since I just quit my job, I knew I didn't want to spend too much money on Babycakes' birthday. My budget was very low (less than $50), but I still made the party fabulous with all of the details!

2) Pick a location. 

Things to think about: Do you want the party at your house? Or is a park a better locale? Or a gym? What about the weather? Where will people park? Where will your child feel most comfortable?

I thought about doing the party at a local park with a gazebo, but then I thought about how hard it would be to constantly be wrangling up all the kiddos and how hard it would be to cart all the food / plates / presents etc. over to said park.  What if she'd need to change outfits? In the end I picked to have the party at our house because I knew Babycakes would have the most fun playing in HER space and it would be the easiest logistically.

3) Create your guest list. 

Who will make the day special?  Do you like big groups, or smaller more intimate gatherings?  How many people are you prepared to feed?

We invited just a few of Babycakes' friends and their parents, plus both sets of grandparents and Babycakes' uncle.  It was the PERFECT amount of people. I've "heard" that you should aim for one party invitee per year of your child's age: 2 = 2 friend, 6 = 6 friends, etc.   So far, I agree wholeheartedly!

4) Decide on a theme. 

With the dawn of Pinterest, it's easy to search for a theme and come up with TONS of good ideas for parties!  You can pick a theme based on a color (all things pink!), or the rainbow (have you seen those amazing rainbow colored striped cakes???), or an activity (baseball, art, water fun), or even a book (like we did: If You Give a Pig a Pancake).  A theme helps tie all the details together.

5) Plan your menu. 

I get most excited about the FOOD!!  First, decide what time of day the party will be.  Will it overlap with a certain meal, lunch? dinner? Or will it be between meals, where appetizers will be enough?  Think about dishware (what will people eat ON), seating (where will people eat?), quantity (how much will Timmy's soccer buds devour?), and variety (some people might not eat meat at a bbq, or some people might be allergic to those cute pb&j sammies).  And of course, refer back to #1.  Though filet mignon might sound delish, is it feasible / affordable for a party of 30+?

I was super happy with how our pancake party turned out, table full of glorious toppings like sliced bananas, mini chocolate chips, and multiple flavors of Love Grown granola!  And of course there had to be a Chobani bar and Chobani Blueberry Banana Bread!!  I only felt mildly guilty about cooking/serving 30 pieces of applewood bacon during our "Pig/Pancake" party...ha!

6) Come up with some activities. 

Besides eating and talking, what will people DO at the party?  Having some activities will break the ice for those who may be less comfortable just "talking." And it can keep busy active kids occupied and focused on something productive. Always plan one or two EXTRA activities, in case people aren't interested in one.  Case in point - As you know, I planned this fabulous party centered around the "If you Give a Pig a Pancake" book.  I planned a coloring book station with 100+ crayons and pig coloring book pages and a group storytime to read the book.  It's always been one of Babycakes' favorites and she loves looking at the pages and describing what's going to happen next.  I fully intended to have an amazing storytime with the kiddos where they sat quietly but engaged as I read the story.  Yeeeeeeeeah, not so much.  They wanted nothing to do with the book and were having too much fun running around and laughing to "sit" and partake in storytime. My words were falling on deaf ears.  And that was OK!  I put the book down and took their cue to continue running around the house with them, silly giggles errupting all around me.

This pic (and storytime) lasted about 23.8 seconds!

7) Live a little!

Remember that your party is celebrating something someone!  Make them feel super special with details that will be meaningful to them.  Though I traditionally don't give Babycakes much sugar, my mother-in-law asked if she could make/bring some special cupcakes for the girls to eat at the end of the party. I said, of course.  And I'm so glad I did because the joy on my sweet girl's face as she dug into that Elmo cupcake was priceless.

A few days later I asked Babycakes what her favorite part of her big birthday weekend was.  Her reply: "My friends and cupcakes."

Happy 2nd birthday to the most beautiful, smart, sweet, empathetic, and observant baby girl I've ever met. I love you, Babycakes, and am so excited to spend so much more time with you this next year! ♥


  • What's your best party planning tip?
  • Do you have any party "fails" to share?
  • What's the best party theme you've experienced/attended?